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STUDIO: MPI Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 75 minutes
• Commentary by writers/directors John Carney and Kieran Carney
A joyously ridiculous and warm-hearted adult comedy that feels like a family film..
Written and directed by John Carney and Kieran Carney, starring Simon Delaney, David Pearse, Janice Byrne, and Rory Keenan.
An oafish man escapes from rehab the same night a comet passes over a quaint Irish village. He fools the townsfolk into believing he’s Zonad, an alien sent to Earth to study the human race.
In the small Irish village of Ballymoran, the townsfolk are all gathered to watch a comet pass overhead. When the Cassidy family returns to their home, they find a bloated man in a red pleather jumpsuit and helmet passed out on their living room floor. They bring the large man to the town doctor who concludes that he’s a visitor from outer space. When the man awakens, he quickly catches onto the people’s guilessness and goes along with their spaceman story.
In a monotone, robotic voice he states that his name is Zonad and that he was sent to Earth to study the human race. Completely naive and excited, the Cassidy clan welcomes Zonad into their home – overjoyed to host a man from outer space. Zonad quickly takes a liking to Jenny, the Cassidy’s very attractive and very horny teenage daughter. Perpetually in a schoolgirl uniform, Jenny’s been bursting with sexual frustration over her hunk boyfriend, Guy, but her advances fall flat on the dimwitted man.
Zonad lives it up in Ballymoran – drinking, eating, and screwing the days away. He never pays for booze and feasts on everything the Cassidy clan has. The local women find Zonad strangely irresistible. Even Jenny, who releases her pent up sexual frustration in the backseat of the family car with Zonad. But Zonad’s freeloading paradise is cut short by the arrival of Bonad, a fellow rehab inmate who was left behind by Zonad. Bonad gets his revenge by moving in on Zonad’s operation as the new hotshot space explorer in town.
Just as easily as they accepted Zonad into their homes and vaginas, Bonad is given the keys to the city. To win back Jenny and the town, Zonad forms an alliance with Guy. The ending is pretty unspectacular – it feels like they couldn’t think of a decent one. This doesn’t take away from the rest of the film’s enjoyably offensive wackiness. Zonad definitely shows off writer/director John Carney’s range as a filmmaker. He made us weep over lost love in 2006’s Once, now he makes us laugh over handjob jokes in Zonad.
Musician and actor Simon Delaney gets to show off both of his talents as Zonad. There’s a couple of silly musical numbers in the film, both showcasing Delaney’s theatrical voice. Rory Keenan (The Guard) plays a wonderful knucklehead as Guy. He got the most laughs out of me with his inability to understand anything being told to him and his character gets a terrific payoff in the end. Those characters were two stand-outs, but the entire cast is entirely likable.
While a good chunk of the racy jokes fell flat, I have to give credit to Zonad for being a vulgar film with a giant heart. It feels like a movie you could watch with your kids, until a sex joke pops up to remind you this is an adult comedy. The toilet humor is used economically and never overshadows the good-nature of the characters and story. Zonad is a unique entertaining slice of comedy from beginning to end.
The DVD features a trailer for the film and commentary by John and Kieran Carney, co-writers and directors of the film. The duo talk about shooting in Wicklow for three weeks, how the tone of the film confused audiences at Tribeca, and the influence of ’50s and ’60s B-movies on the look and pace of the film. They also bring up an excellent point about how really good comedy requires a story to work. For example, they explain how the jokes on a show like Family Guy are interchangeable, while the jokes on Southpark work only in the context of their episodes.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars